Elecraft CP1 - A tasty RF treat
|Elecraft CP1 Kit|
Couple what?Ah, so if your new to this like me you might be asking what does a coupler do? Well it sorta listens in on the signal going out (forward) and reflected (back) and is able to send an attenuated sample of the signal to other devices. It attenuates the sample by either 20db or 30db depending on how you build the kit.
The 20db version is good for signals 25 watts and less so that's the way I built it. It was easy to build but my glue under the second toroid wasn't strong enough and you can see it popped up a bit. Also the Elecraft instructions had one confusing instruction concerning mounting the toroids. The instructions say "... When wound and mounted correctly, the enamel wire will emerge from the top of each core and connect to the top hole at each inductor location". Well when you wind a toroid only one of the wires can "emerge from the top of the core" while the other comes from underneath. This confused me for a minute until I finally just went on with the install. Anyway, if you're a stickler for following instructions that one may cause a moment of pause...
The switches for the two outputs forward, reflected (J3, J4) are in the up position when they are not in use. When the switch(es) are in the up position the 50 ohm 3 watt resistor(s) take the place of the switched off output. Don't disconnect an output and leave the switch in the bottom position. I'm not sure what will happen... maybe nothing, probably a bit of a mismatch on the SWR, or maybe it could be like "Crossing the streams" in Ghostbusters. Your mileage may vary.
My uses for a couplerMy old Ten-Tec Century 21 has an analog VFO dial that gives me a good guess at where I'm at but I use an external frequency counter to give me more information. I had it sorta rigged my frequency counter to sample the signal from RF leaked on the shield but I didn't really know how much power I was sending to the counter so this coupler allows it, as well as other devices, to be safely connected to the transmitted signal.
I also plan to use the coupler for IMD tests using a oscilloscope and other projects. It's handy device to have in your collection.